Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Getting back to Getting Crafty

I've been in a creative wasteland for...weeks...Months....YEARS! Ok.ok.ok. not years, but it feels like it. When you hate where you live, you tend to not do a lot of things. Which is funny...when I first moved to DC (and hated it even then!) I threw myself into crafts, blogging, cooking, baking, sewing, etc.. Just about anything to distract me from the fact that I hated my surroundings and the decision I had made to move across the country. Well...fast forward six miserable DC years...now I've just resorted to glasses of wine, TiVo and a puppy to distract myself from the awful aspects of my geographical location.

But, the streak had to break. I've been feeling off. Robbing a part of myself that is natural...and just me. So I conned a friend into going to a paint-your-own-pottery studio this weekend. Naturally, I picked the day where there were flash flood warnings and there was so much water pouring from the sky, it was virtually impossible to stay dry. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time and created some wonderful pieces.

I used to do this all the time growing up for birthday parties and "mommy and me time" back in the day, but I'd forgotten how relaxing and therapeutic it was to just paint, overthink colors and develop a crick in your neck from crouching over your masterpiece. It was lovely. It made me feel better. It made me realize how tired I am of sacrificing myself for some awful place. (If you haven't picked up on it...my days are number here in DC).

We spent the afternoon at Paint This! in Old Town; and it was perfect. It was cute, stocked with so many options of pottery pieces and colors I could have stayed for days. The prices were amazing...an entire afternoon of entertainment...less than $30!



We created some pretty amazing masterpieces if I do say so myself!

I was inspired by this and this for my bowls.

Ashley painstakingly did every single one of those polka dots on hers!


I'll definitely be back for some more craft therapy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

What is it like working from home: V. 2

Installment numero dos for discussing all things related to working from home. You can check out my first conversation on this top here if you'd like!

I get a lot of questions about what it is like to work from home, and even for me, who has been doing this now for 19 months, find surprising things I never would have thought about before. I want to share my experience and lessons learned so other people seeking a similar opportunity might have some insight!

Q: "How does it work with your manager? Do they monitor your activity all the time, or is there a lot of trust in you?"

A: I am sure I am monitored to a certain extend, and I will say this will vary on company. I loving working for a company that does trust their employees and really promotes the idea that is all about customer experience. That means, if I need to take a long lunch to see visiting friends, or go to a vet appointment, I typically can without having to take PTO because I can make sure I start work earlier, or later to ensure my customers are taken care of. I will say you have to be a great communicator to foster a good relationship with your manager for afar. I only see my manager on average twice a year, so being engaged online and over the phone is critical in creating a trusting, and respectful relationship.

Q: "Is it hard to cut yourself off and not work all the time?"

A: Yes. Yes. Yes and Yes. It is very hard. Granted this day in age most jobs can be done at home, from a laptop, in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning. So I firmly believe that worklife/balance is a choice and stopping at specific times each day takes planning and prioritizing no matter where you work. BUT. When your job is in your face every single day, and when your "office" is also where your closet is, and your personal items- it is really hard to be in there and not feel like you have to send a few emails or take care of something "real quick". With my job, if I had to go to an office I wouldn't have enough time in the day to get done what I need to, so being able to work whenever is really important for my role. I will say I would strongly recommend having your office in a completely separate place from where you do "life". I plan to ensure I have a true office when I move in the upcoming months. While a guest bedroom and storage place work, it works best if you are in a place that you can close the door and you don't have to go back into until the next morning.


Q: "What supplies did you have to buy to start working from home?"

A: Lucky for me, working for a "tech" firm- we don't use a lot of paper or printing. So I made sure to have notepads, pens, and really basic supplies. MOST important: a good desk and office chair. I am totally improvising with an old kitchen table from my studio apartment and a dining room chair which causes a lot of neck strain and back issues. Again- something I will upgrade when I move here shortly, but for now it does the job. But these are critical. Don't be cheap! You will be there 8+ hours a day and it should be functional and comfortable! Also...make it pretty. I have a Idaho print, shelves with matching storage boxes and a cute lamp. Simple things, but make me feel girly and pulled together every day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pinterest: the 50/50 shot at a good meal

Pinterest used to be the center of my day for many many months. Not sure if that was due to an easier/awful job, or just being enamored by the site and totally losing my MarthaStewartSelf in all of the pins, but I pinned A LOT. I also use to try a lot of recipes. I also used to look at wedding pins like it was my job. I also used to try to plan gifts and Christmas shopping with a board.

Now, I am luckily if I spend more than 10-15 minutes on there a week! I also stopped following most of the wedding boards I used to (different story for different day, but it felt good to stop feeling depressed that I am no where near getting married). Sadly, I've also stopped creating on the regular. Weather that is a meal or a craft, I just don't have time with work and the new dog (yes, I said new DOG- I'll get to that in a post soon).

Luckily, my workload has been way more reasonable these past few weeks and I've been able to carve out tiny pieces of "me" time. In an attempt to utilize some leftover ingredients from a earlier meal, I found a chicken recipe that looked pretty tasty. I finished work on time (!!!), kenneled the dog without him acting like he was dying, and ran to the local grocery store to grab ingredients.

Guess what----it was pretty dang good. And I share not only because I am proud that I did something that was like my old normal self BUT because my theory on Pinterest recipes is that you've got a 50/50 shot of finding a good one. Many have flopped and failed miserably. Many have been good. But when I really look at it, it is seriously around a 50% success rate. So in an effort to save all of you hardworking, overly busy, and craving creative times like me people- I figured share a good one!

So here it is: Lemon Butter Chicken

Image via 



Monday, June 22, 2015

Waking up from Blogernation

Almost 6 full months since I've been here and tended to any writing, or documenting of any kind. Rather than the reasons, or feelings of why that has been the case, I guess I'll just sigh, laugh at the fact that I'll probably post once, and then go back into blogernation (like hibernation).

It's been nagging at me to come here, to write, to get some things emotionally off my chest. Some friends have also said the same to me recently- wanting to write, to show emotion in a different way than what they've been trying.

I've been pretty down and out about life lately. Sure, I know there is a lot to be happy, thankful and excited about. But denying that it is time to leave DC is no longer an option. My emotional time-clock, and personal well-being have culminated into making everyday a painful reminder that I am not willing to be here anymore. I'm wrung out. My patience is gone, my reserved happiness is drained, and I am emotionally zapped each and everyday. There is a growing feeling of resentment too- and I know that isn't good, especially in support of the long-term. It is time to leave, and I just need to set a date.

The fear and reservations I have had previously, don't really exist anymore. If anything, it is a new fear.  A fear that I won't ever feel like myself again- that this place has changed me and robbed me of two much valuable time being where and who I want to be. I used to really believe in the whole "everything happens for a reason". But I don't really anymore. This experience, coming away feeling empty, less patient, and sad don't make me see this as a positive, or learning experience in any way shape or form.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Letters To DC: The Stampeding Animals Known as Humans

Dear Everyone Who Walks Like they a Stampeding Animal,

Why are we walking so damn fast? The other evening I went to Target to pick up some essentials, was walking back and almost got trampled like Mufasa in the gorge. You all were walking so freaking fast, I practically had to trot to not get my heels run over by the chick rolling her suitcase down the street.

Granted I know...you've been at the office allll day and you want to get home so you can watch the SOTU or Dance Moms, and you all have much longer legs (especially those of you wearing those power heels that add 4 inches to your height). So I get it...you are on a mission. I am too. But the difference between stampeding down the sidewalk vs. a gentle stroll probably is only saving you 3-4 extra minutes each evening. Not to mention, don't you ever just want to enjoy the walk?

I was enjoying my walk and outing to Target. Granted, I don't get out much...as we all well know, but when I do it usually is for enjoyment, exercise and because even I (the ultimate homebody) gets stir crazy. So I want to enjoy my time away from "my office"; even if it is just a trivial trip to Target or the post office.

I just don't understand where we are all trying to go so dang fast? No one has enough time in the day, so why fight it? Just enjoy your walk. Oh maybe smile at someone too...revolutionary concept, I know.

Oh wait....sorry. I forgot.

You are just so important of course you are going to walk like a race horse trying to win the Kentucky Derby.

Unkindly,

Andrea